22 Sep 2011

Shorebirds: Greater Yellowlegs

Greater Yellowlegs in flight
The last few days have been quite rewarding, since I managed to get photos of several bird species despite the fact that I did not head out deliberately on bird watch.  There are several places on my way to work where I can stop just to relax before facing the day.  One of these is a small man made pond where I was surprised to see a small flock of shorebirds. 

These turned out to be Greater Yellowlegs.  There was six or seven of them, spread out over the pond.  They didn't stay still very long.  In fact, I was lucky to get shots of two of them together in any one place.  The ones shown directly below were to the right of my position.

Greater Yellowlegs to the right
Greater yellowlegs searching for food

These birds chose to land to the left of me, where they foraged for food.  It turns out these birds are very wary of danger.  They would bob their heads and get set to take flight if I got too close.  They would also immediately call an alarm at the least intrusion from any source, including gulls that landed to close to them.

On the other side of me
Greater yellowlegs on his own

This Greater Yellowlegs was on the other side of the pond all by himself.  I had to literally sneak up on him to get this shot. 
A close up
The Greater yellowlegs belongs to the shorebird species of birds.  They are quite large, about half the size of a small gull, and reside mostly in bogs and marshes in the Boreal forest regions in summer.  These were obviously in the process of migration as they stayed a mere two days at the pond.  However, they spent all of their time consuming as much food as they could.  I am very glad this pond was able to provide for their needs.


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